Tuesday, November 23, 2004

My bad weather friend

With the advent of winter, come the first of the serious rains; the rains which are Israel’s life blood; which will slowly, painstakingly fill the Kinneret and the parched coastal aquifer. Unlike in my home country, where every rainfall (and there are many) is bemoaned, here it is a blessing which is prayed for 3 times a day “Mashiv Haruach Umorid Hagashem”.

The rain brings untold perils with it however, not least the many car smashes which will be covered in the media tinught and tomorrow morning, the result of inexperienced drivers or those who are simply going to fast and breaking too late, sowing havoc and wrecking lives in an ill fated attempt to reach the next red light before the next man.

On a far more mundane note, I wandered down to my new basement earlier, dejected that my Monday night football game, religiously adhered to, had been rained off. As I slumped into my chair with the intent of turning my brain to mush with what passes for television these days, I found myself standing in a puddle and, not being the owner of pets or small children, realized immediately that this was bad – with the potential to be very bad.

When I bought my apartment last year, I was cautious about the basement. The apartment is split over 3 levels, the bottom one being a converted well with a hanging floor. Before buying, I had got an engineer to give it the once over and he had certified it as being dry whilst noting that arrangements had been made by the previous owners in case a serious amount of rain fell in one go – as happened today. For the most part, those arrangements worked and no damage would have been done – were it not for one cable housing which carried water from a drip into my TV room, thence creating the aforementioned puddle.

Enter G. G is a Moroccan - Israeli friend of mine who also happens to be a member of that much maligned profession without which we would be living in tents; a Kablan (building contractor). When I bought the flat, he guided us patiently through every stage of the renovation, warning me of the pitfalls (including the basement / water issue), explaining the logic behind each step and not resting until everything that we asked of him was done. The result is a beautiful job – exactly as we imagined if not better. Five minutes after my panicked call, he was by my side, ruefully surveying the damage, accepting blame even though I hadn’t dreamed that anyone other than the forces of nature were at fault, and explaining to me how he would right the damage at his own expense. The workmen will be here tomorrow to take care of things – an inconvenience which could have been far worse.

With so many cowboys out there, G’s actions tonight and on other occasions since the work has been finished, are worthy of note. He is a true friend, with old fashioned values – if he says he’ll do something then you don’t have to worry about it being done properly, if I have a problem he will drop everything and come – very much a rarity in this day and age.

G has a proper name and a phone number – if you would like a recommendation for a decent, honest contractor, please drop me a line and I will pass them on. Oh – and do be wary of apartments with basements….


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